In Memory of Amir Lopatin    
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 Memories of Amir Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Anonymous  
 Dated:  Sunday, April 18 2004 @ 04:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time
This is an email sent to Shoshana from Rebecca Minkus-Lieberman, a close friend from Princeton.

Dearest Shoshana-

Since I heard about Amir right before this past Shabbat, I have not stopped thinking of you, your mother, and Uri. I so wish that I had known earlier, that I had been able to be there for the shiva, been able to offer whatever comfort that is possible at a time like this.

Although I did not know Amir very well, I do have certain memories of him from the time that I spent with your family. He always reminded me so much of you. He always seemed to speak so quickly, as if his mouth was trying to catch up with the thoughts and ideas running through his mind. And I recall his smile and the way that he lovingly called you Shoshi. I remember the time that I came home with you for Rosh Hashanah. I remember Amir speaking with your father in the kitchen - about exactly what I don't recall - but I do remember his manner and tone: he was discussing something with intensity, arguing his point with passion, pressing your father to look at a different perspective - one he was convinced was correct - and doing so with fierce conviction and love. I guess that's what I recall most about him - his fiery passion about things he believed in and his intellectual commitment to questioning assumptions and ideas. In that way, he reminded me so much of you. I know how close the two of you were and how much you shared together, the trips, the bike rides, the valued conversations, the intense love and the thoughts of your souls. I mourn with you, Shoshana, and I cannot adequately express our condolences to you and your family on this tragedy. I am thinking about you every day and wishing that I could be there just to hug you.

Hamakom yenachem otach be'toch sha'ar avlei tzion ve'yerushalayim.

Much love-
Becca

   

 Amir Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Anonymous  
 Dated:  Sunday, April 18 2004 @ 03:06 PM Eastern Daylight Time
I haven't spoken with Amir in a long time. It will be our tenth year reunion from high school this year. The last time I saw him was sophmore year in college. But he still makes me smile every time I think of him. Amir, I have never met anyone like you. There is only one Amir. I thank you for being you. You drew people in, wanting to hear more, feeling safe, feeling daring. I can even hear your voice and the funny way you chose to annunciate the words as they flew out of your mouth or carefully exhibited themselves. Do you remember you played the Shylock from Shakespeare- I don't remember what for- but you were very convinicing. For me you will always be Amir- and that means so much.

I hope Hashem is taking good care of you.

Claire

   

 Reflections of a Rebbe Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  yehuda susman  
 Dated:  Saturday, April 17 2004 @ 06:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time
I met Amir 17 years ago in Shul in Englewood. Neither one of us really wanted to be there - he was a fidgety 11 year old sitting next to his father, I was twice his age, but even more uneasy next to my future father in law. We didn't exactly bond, but over the years our semiannual meetings continued, and we expected to see each other.

Then the venue changed; we were in Efrat. He the post high school student,anxious and expectant - his bright eyes windows to the questions and issues that burned inside. And I, the rookie rebbe, unsure of myself, hoping to answer some of them, hoping to learn from him and his peers more than they would gain from me. And we grew together and found the common ground of talmid and rebbe- the ground we would share for the decade that followed-when we would again meet and talk in Englewood and speak - of Brown, Salt Lake City,Stanford and Efrat.

The last time I saw him was last year at his father's funeral in Tel Aviv. Surprisingly we had time to talk. I answered a shayla, we reflected on the past, spoke briefly of the future and shared a silent embrace.

A teacher rarely knows what he has taught a student. A talmid can never fathom what impact he has had on his rebbe.

I will miss you, Amir.

   

 Funeral Blues - W.H. Auden Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Anonymous  
 Dated:  Saturday, April 17 2004 @ 08:44 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

   

 From Jeremy Poupko Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Anonymous  
 Dated:  Thursday, April 15 2004 @ 07:29 AM Eastern Daylight Time
"The one thing that was hardest for me was to watch him struggle to function on his own. For him self reliance was essential and it was hard to see him lose that"

This is more or less the main core of what Amir said at the funeral of his father this past summer. As I write these lines and think back over the last twenty years I think to myself that this is really the esprit de corps of family Lopatin. You are all independant thinkers and doers. Yet,at the same time meurav im habriot; proud yet warm, loving and encouraging, never aloof. Amir certainly didn't fall short in that.

My memories of Amir are mainly of his childhood. He was always very quiet, but I could tell from the look on his face that he was absorbing like a sponge. At a very young age he already gave an impression of being a baal sechel (one whose actions are dictated by intellect rather than emotion). His maturity level was adultlike. Even when he played a game he seemed to be analyzing it scientifically, his head tilted to the side and a thoughtfull expression on his face. As a twelve-year-old, seven-year-old Amir seemed to me like a cute little professor, round glasses and all. It seems funny to me that he grew up to be an athlete as well. An ocean of tears would not sufficiently express how we feel. If the true gauge of quality of life is the impact one has on the world around oneself, than I think that Amir lived a life that many an old man can be jealous of.

This weeks parsha(portion of the bible read in synogogue on shabbat) parshat Shmini speaks of the untimely death of Nadav and Avihu, the two saintly elder sons of Aaron Hacohen. About them God says, "bekrovai ekadesh," I will become holy from [the death of] those who are closest to me. This means that sometimes God takes the "good ones" in a shokingly tragic way in order to stir the rest of us. Bemoto tziva lanu lehitbonen bachaim. In his death he commanded us to contemplate the meaning of life. By doing so we transform his death from a "freak accident" into a kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of God's name. The Chafetz Chaim, Rav Yisroel Meir Hacohen of Radin (1828-1933), is the most revered figure of Israel in the past hundred years. Even during his lifetime he was referred to by all Jews throughout the world as the "Saba Kaddisha," holy grandfather. He was a spiritual giant,a man of sublime purity. His pure absolute faith in God and the truth and eternity of His Torah permeated his entire existence. Virtualy every Jewish home in the world, no matter how moderately religious and no matter how small its library, contains one or more of his classic works of Jewish law or ethics. The first edition of his Artscroll biography (page 328) contains a dramatic account of the death of his beloved son Avraham at the age of twenty three. Here is an exerpt:

"Calmly and steadily he went straightway into his house and sat down to observe shiva, the seven days of mourning. Not a teardrop appeared on his face, not a groan could be heard from his mouth. 'The world,' he said, 'has lost a Torah scholar of stature.' When he was eighteen, he was already expounding Torah innovatively like one of the great luminaries! Then he added, 'Hashem gave, and Hashem has taken away; blessed be the name of Hashem (Job 1:21) from now to eternity. Now I know that I am a Jew.' Then he told the story related in Toldot Adam (chapter 16). At the time of the Inquisition in Spain in 1492, the vicious bloodthirsty men of the church slaughtered the two beloved precious children of a pious, devout Jewish mother before her eyes. The courageous woman lifted her eyes to heaven, and with an unflinching heart she whispered in prayer: 'O Master of the world, it is true I always bore you love. Yet as long as I had my two dear, priceless children, my heart was devided in two. There was still a place there reserved and contained for my children. Now that they are no more, my whole heart is a dwelling-place for my blazing love for you...Now I can truly obey the commandment to love Hashem your God with all your heart and with all your soul' (D'varim 6:5)....And the Chafetz Chaim passionately exclaimed, 'O master of the world, the love I bore my son till now, I henceforth give over to you!'"

May the memory of Amir live with us forever.

   

 Thoughts on Shiva Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  urilopatin  
 Dated:  Sunday, April 11 2004 @ 07:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time
The best things about the shiva were my brother’s friends. For this, and for many things, I thank you all. You celebrated his life. This is what shiva should be. You helped us see amir through your eyes. Helped us make his life more… alive. Helped make us *more* proud. We talked about him with love and joy and hope and promise…. It was what shiva should be. I think that is when healing starts. I could see the path my brother had been walking a little more clearly, and the path stood there more clearly for his having walked it.

   

 Recordando a Amir...... Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Anonymous  
 Dated:  Friday, April 09 2004 @ 06:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time
I wanted to share my feelings about the nice evening in which I met Amir. Shoshanna introduced us because we were individuals who shared the pasion for life, for discovering new places and meeting fun and interesting people. I have the best memories of a beautiful family, with a huge heart, who made part of my experience in the states an unbelievable one. Shosh and Amir you are part of all that...no matter how far we all are from each other we are all together in soul.

Love from Chile,

Carol Weinstein

   

 If only... Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Anonymous  
 Dated:  Friday, April 09 2004 @ 03:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
I just wish he could have read all this...
I just wish he could have known how much he was loved and appreciated...
I just wish it wasn't too late, since I'm not sure that he knew.
Even for the shortest glimpse.
I just wish...

   

 Beautiful Smile Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Vic Botnick  
 Dated:  Friday, April 09 2004 @ 01:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time
I have known Amir from early childhood to adulthood. I've watched him grow into a beautiful young man. My most intimate contacts with Amir were from late Pre-teen to his Mid-teen years. During this period he was an orthodontic patient of mine. At each appointment he never failed to say "Hello Dr. Botnick, How are you?" When the appointment was finished, no matter how painful the adjustments were, he would say "Thank you Dr. Botnick."

Amir, May your soul be bound with ETERNAL LIFE.

Your coy smile will always be missed.

Victor Botnick

   

 Always Hearing About Amir Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Anonymous  
 Dated:  Thursday, April 08 2004 @ 11:38 PM Eastern Daylight Time
I didn't know Amir. In fact I never even met him.

My cousin, David Virenius, was Amir's roommate in New York. Though I never knew Amir personally, I learned an awful lot about him just by the way my cousin spoke about him.

I heard so much about how kind and smart and motivated this "Amir" was. It was obvious that my cousin had a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for this person.

When David told me that Amir had died in a car accident, I couldn't help but be moved by the loss of someone who was so loved and admired by so many people.

I just wanted to have the chance to say how incredible I think he must have been to be able to affect me, someone he had never even met.

I wish that I had had the chance to meet him.


My condolences to all who knew him on your immeasurable loss,

Ryan Paulson